Rapping is Writing (if done right)

What’s up? Name’s Chris. I have recently discovered that upon entering the exciting and busy-bee-like atmosphere of the Communiqué that there was also another person with the same first name as me. To avoid confusion and give Chris the dignity of not sharing that name with someone as… “interesting” as me, you may call me “CKFire”. Why “CKFire”? Well, when I was a wee fetus going to Franklin Middle School and throughout my time at Washington High School, that was my rap alias. “But there is no way that he likes to rap! He wants to be a writer!” Well, that’s fair but if one can arrange their words thoughtfully and correctly, then rapping is writing.

Take Kendrick Lamar, for example. In “King Kunta” he interweaves themes and wording that is clever and gives homage to African culture. In his second verse of “King Kunta”, he goes on about the “yams” that give power and fill people with desires. “…The Yam brought it out of Richard Pryor, manipulated Bill Clinton with desires” this may be obvious at first. Lamar might simply be referring to money, but he is on a grander scale, referring to the yam as it is represented in African culture, fertility and power. This is most apparent when he references Bill Clinton and the infamous affair he had with Monica Lewinsky and especially when he emphasizes its power by constantly referencing yams throughout the track like this: “The yam is the power that be. (that be, that be, that be, that be, that be).”

These messages and cultural puns that he incorporates into his rhymes as he goes along with the beat in “King Kunta” are so interesting because you can gather many meanings off one word that is repeated over and over. This idea of meaningful repetition combined with his expert use of rhythm in this track makes Lamar a prime example for a rapper who writes his lyrics professionally.

However, there is a way to not do it. That way is Blue Face’s track, “First Class Ft. Gunna”. The music video encompasses an attitude that revolves primarily on “flexing” where our protagonist Blue Face opens an expensive branded bag to reveal hundred-dollar bills and a watch for the elite. It represents a very materialistic personality that degrades whatever message he will have even if it is one on prosperity. Most of his lyrics in this track either seem to incorporate adultery or jewelry. “I love the drip I get paid to be cool. She love to strip make it shake for the blues.” If you can find any lyric within this track that doesn’t revolve around money or have a tone that doesn’t match this, you will personally be awarded a quarter by yours truly.

However, try not to catch me writing bars or producing much beats anytime soon. Hard for me to get the rhythm right, and rhyming is tough! I wouldn’t be surprised if you could concoct an interesting–or dare say decent—result out of putting a Dr. Seuss rhyme over a beat. I implore a local talented music major to attempt that concept at least for the heck of it! Which one of his stories? How about… “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”?

Categories: Editorials, Opinion